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Commando socket charging

c7carl

Member
Jul 18, 2020
47
58
Surrey, UK
Having read, re-read, digested and re-read again; I think I’m going to install an interlocked 32a commando socket in my integral garage at home.

Reasons behind this decision:
- Currently have a spare 6mm2 40a circuit terminated in a block in the garage, left over from running an electric oven for a temporary kitchen in the garage last year when we were having building work done.
- My main charging location will be at the workplace, will only be charging from home occasionally at weekend or whilst on annual leave.
- Car will be parked in front of up and over door and main body of UMC can sit inside the garage in the dry.
- I have a spare 13a charger from my current BMW 330e that I can keep in the Tesla for emergencies, leaving the Tesla UMC with commando adaptor permanently at home.
- If I decide to move, I can always remove the socket and just leave it blanked off.
- I’m comfortable doing the work myself and am well aware of the risks and regulatory position.

Mabe if I do more charging at home, I may upgrade - For now, it will do while I adjust to this new EV world.
 
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Bexon

Member
Mar 22, 2020
10
0
Barnsley
Having read, re-read, digested and re-read again; I think I’m going to install an interlocked 32a commando socket in my integral garage at home.

Reasons behind this decision:
- Currently have a spare 6mm2 40a circuit terminated in a block in the garage, left over from running an electric oven for a temporary kitchen in the garage last year when we were having building work done.
- My main charging location will be at the workplace, will only be charging from home occasionally at weekend or whilst on annual leave.
- Car will be parked in front of up and over door and main body of UMC can sit inside the garage in the dry.
- I have a spare 13a charger from my current BMW 330e that I can keep in the Tesla for emergencies, leaving the Tesla UMC with commando adaptor permanently at home.
- If I decide to move, I can always remove the socket and just leave it blanked off.
- I’m comfortable doing the work myself and am well aware of the risks and regulatory position.

Mabe if I do more charging at home, I may upgrade - For now, it will do while I adjust to this new EV world.
I
I plan to charge using a 3-pin plug and don’t want to invest in wall charger as we are planning to move house in the next 12 months. I’ve heard of reference to “commando” sockets, which as I understand it allows higher current. Car will be parked on drive and cable could either be run from our internal garage (cable under door?) or alternatively from our porch way cupboard which contains the electricity meter. Any suggestions/guidance regarding equipment, installation, usage etc?

thanks
i use commando at home and at work
Works great
⚡️⚡️
 

LongRanger

Active Member
Jan 11, 2020
1,317
1,204
Wales
After much procrastination (see what I did there OP), have decided to go fully with the Commando interlocked sockets approach, scrap the idea of investing in a Rolec and am buying the juice booster 2 product.

This allows me backup options for mobile charging, multiple locations at home with backup options across 2 separate electricity supplies and a 3-phase limited AC portable option all in one.

Not the cheapest route but I don’t feel there’s enough decent pedestal choice out in the marketplace yet - the rolec stuff looks very cheaply made inside - and we don’t have the classic garage/house wall option to play with for a “normal” wall mount charger at this time.

Location 1 will have 32A + 16A and Location 2 will have 16A, all commmandos - plus gives us flexibility for hookups to other things if needed.
 

Cnixon

Member
Mar 5, 2020
462
139
Basingstoke
Make sure you get an interlocked variety. As well as being required by regs, it means that you cannot unplug without power being off - no sparks, no items in a live socket.
Commando don't have fuse so must be on their own circuit with no other loads. You will not get sparks etc. with Tesla charger. Electrician will give proper advice.
 

GeorgeSymonds

Active Member
Mar 16, 2018
1,267
802
UK
Wiring a commando and wiring a charge point given the cable is there and the same rules apply to both re protection, earthing etc,takes the same amount of effort. You can pick up a tethered charger relatively cheaply or get a Tesla one, you can always take it with you if you move.

But a commando will work, my point is only that a commando is no less effort and is no less strict on requirements as its being used for charging a car.
 
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VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,234
5,757
Surrey, UK
Make sure you get an interlocked variety. As well as being required by regs, it means that you cannot unplug without power being off - no sparks, no items in a live socket.

Commando don't have fuse so must be on their own circuit with no other loads. You will not get sparks etc. with Tesla charger. Electrician will give proper advice.

Thankfully we have EV savvy electrical engineers like @arg who can give that advice so that others can pass on their information when they are less active on rather than relying on a potentially confused or misinformed electrician who may be working outside their core skill area.

Note that the socket linked to above is not interlocked so NOT compliant with wiring regulations - it's not permitted in domestic installations for any purpose, and it's not permitted anywhere for EV charging installations (the one place you could use it is in an industrial environment if you declare it is not for EV charging).

I don't think there is anything wrong with specifying what you want, but yes, it is up to the electrician to choose how to do what you want safely and within regulations. Unfortunately, not all can be relied on to do this, so it is better to be forewarned so you know if an electrician is not up to speed or simply pulling a fast one. When an audit of OLEV grants only finds 21% of installations meeting satisfactory standard, it shows that there is a wide spread issue with the understanding of some within the industry.

And I can tell you having seen from experience of having worked with commando style extension cables in a commercial environment that occasionally pulling a plug under heavy load is not always as uneventful as one may like.
 
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c7carl

Member
Jul 18, 2020
47
58
Surrey, UK
Well that’s the Type B RCD and 32a Commando socket installed.

7D35A9D2-E9A9-427A-B3E9-9C50199AAD68.jpeg
FC16909B-9580-4DF4-8B20-074B6F2DAA2E.jpeg
5094080E-6643-4AF5-8709-11D80B0B9248.jpeg
 

mr_e

Member
Dec 26, 2020
5
0
London
Like a few others on here I can’t claim the OLEV grant. In addition I already have a portable charger that can plug into a 32A commando socket. Therefore for my particular predicament there does seem an opportunity to save money with a commando socket vs buying a proper charger.

Having researched with the objective of minimising both component cost and on-site installation labour, it appears I need:

A) A 32A blue commando socket, which needs to be interlocked to comply with regs as it will be located outside, fairly simple to buy for £20 or so

B) PME fault detection in the consumer unit, which removes the need for an earth rod

C) Type A RCD plus additional >6ma DC leakage detection and auto shutoff in the consumer unit to avoid having to use an expensive (£120+) Type B RCD/RCCB. As I understand it all RCDs upstream of a Type-B (if present) also should be converted Type B which further calls for avoiding a Type B if possible

Plus minor sundries such as wire etc.

My issue is there doesn’t seem to be a consumer unit on the market which has both (A) and (B) included. Nor are the >6ma DC protectors in (C) available as a separate item which you could combine with a regular Type A RCD/RCCB*, so you can’t assemble the components into your own mix & match consumer unit either.

Rolec do an “O-PEN:EV” consumer unit which appears to do (B) but not (C), since (C) is built separately into their chargers.

There are a few units (eg SP-EVCP-B from Matt-e) which combine (B) with a Type B RCD/RCCD, but they are >£300 which negates any real saving vs a proper charger.

So, my question is, has anyone come across a product which combines (B) and (C) at a genuinely cheap price?



* apart from one provided by Rolec as a replacement for a component inside their wall charger - I don’t think you can use this as a standalone inside a consumer unit
 

mr_e

Member
Dec 26, 2020
5
0
London
Like a few others on here I can’t claim the OLEV grant. In addition I already have a portable charger that can plug into a 32A commando socket. Therefore for my particular predicament there does seem an opportunity to save money with a commando socket vs buying a proper charger.

Having researched with the objective of minimising both component cost and on-site installation labour, it appears I need:

A) A 32A blue commando socket, which needs to be interlocked to comply with regs as it will be located outside, fairly simple to buy for £20 or so

B) PME fault detection in the consumer unit, which removes the need for an earth rod

C) Type A RCD plus additional >6ma DC leakage detection and auto shutoff in the consumer unit to avoid having to use an expensive (£120+) Type B RCD/RCCB. As I understand it all RCDs upstream of a Type-B (if present) also should be converted Type B which further calls for avoiding a Type B if possible

Plus minor sundries such as wire etc.

My issue is there doesn’t seem to be a consumer unit on the market which has both (B) and (C) included. Nor are the >6ma DC protectors in (C) available as a separate item which you could combine with a regular Type A RCD/RCCB*, so you can’t assemble the components into your own mix & match consumer unit either.

Rolec do an “O-PEN:EV” consumer unit which appears to do (B) but not (C), since (C) is built separately into their chargers.

There are a few units (eg SP-EVCP-B from Matt-e) which combine (B) with a Type B RCD/RCCD, but they are >£300 which negates any real saving vs a proper charger.

So, my question is, has anyone come across a product which combines (B) and (C) at a genuinely cheap price?



* apart from one provided by Rolec as a replacement for a component inside their wall charger - I don’t think you can use this as a standalone inside a consumer unit


Correction to my wording above!
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,165
3,131
Scotland
I work for a major UK house builder and we fit them now as standard in the garage. Only 3.6KW though

Good to hear but is there a reason for 3.6kW? Surely if you're going to do it you may as well go to 7.2kW as there will barely be a cost difference (if any). The higher speed is a major benefit.
 

DrJFoster

Member
Aug 27, 2019
141
98
UK
Add my name to the "you pretty much needn't bother if you're going to fit 3.6kw". Ok 16A is better than 10A which is all you can get from a 3 pin plug but its marginal. Given the hard work is typically getting the right sized cable to the circuit board. Maybe as a halfway house (no pun intended) they can run the right sized cable for 32A even if the ends are set up for 16A? It would cost maybe a couple of quid more and the could then offer to upgrade home buyers if they wanted 32A easily.
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,711
UK
^^^ This^^^

Most of the cost for a cable run will be installation. 6mm² SWA cable, fine for a 32 A charge point, costs less than £3/metre. The cost of the cable is pretty much down in the noise when compared to the labour cost for running it, so it makes sense to fit cable rated for the maximum AC charge current of 32 A.
 
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Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,711
UK
I wonder if it may have implications for the power calculations from the DNO regarding required grid reinforcements which may come out of the builder's pockets?

I believe that the DNOs now have to provide at least a 15 kVA standard connection to all new developments, and builders may also be required to include provision for EV charging. The days when new builds had all sorts of cheapskate arrangements, with shared supplies and main fuses rated as low as 40 A might, hopefully, be over.

I know that when I had a new supply run to this house, back when we were building it, 15 kVA seemed to be the standard supply provided by SSEPD, with stern words that we'd have to pay for any local distribution network reinforcement if that was found to be needed. As it happens, we got our connection for a much-reduced price, as we found a big (95mm Wavcon) underground cable running across our land, that wasn't supposed to be there (there was no record of the cable at all). That big three phase cable was only supplying one house at the time, and was being fed by a transformer that had loads of spare capacity (a mixed blessing*). SSEPD agreed to relocate that cable (it was routed right under where our house now sits) and also to convert an unsightly overhead run of ABC feeding it to underground, and so now that big cable runs right under our meter kiosk, pretty much on our boundary.

* A mixed blessing because, although we have a 100 A fused supply, and were granted immediate consent for up to 10 kWp of solar generation, our supply voltage always tends to sit a bit on the high side. Although this means slightly faster car charging, it also means that our PV inverter voltage limits at the 253 VAC upper limit on sunny days. There's not enough load on our local transformer and network to bring the voltage down, and SSEPD refuse to adjust the taps to reduce it, no idea why.
 

26ct2143

Member
Nov 22, 2020
207
85
Burton-on-Trent, UK
I believe that the DNOs now have to provide at least a 15 kVA standard connection to all new developments, and builders may also be required to include provision for EV charging. The days when new builds had all sorts of cheapskate arrangements, with shared supplies and main fuses rated as low as 40 A might, hopefully, be over.

I know that when I had a new supply run to this house, back when we were building it, 15 kVA seemed to be the standard supply provided by SSEPD, with stern words that we'd have to pay for any local distribution network reinforcement if that was found to be needed. As it happens, we got our connection for a much-reduced price, as we found a big (95mm Wavcon) underground cable running across our land, that wasn't supposed to be there (there was no record of the cable at all). That big three phase cable was only supplying one house at the time, and was being fed by a transformer that had loads of spare capacity (a mixed blessing*). SSEPD agreed to relocate that cable (it was routed right under where our house now sits) and also to convert an unsightly overhead run of ABC feeding it to underground, and so now that big cable runs right under our meter kiosk, pretty much on our boundary.

* A mixed blessing because, although we have a 100 A fused supply, and were granted immediate consent for up to 10 kWp of solar generation, our supply voltage always tends to sit a bit on the high side. Although this means slightly faster car charging, it also means that our PV inverter voltage limits at the 253 VAC upper limit on sunny days. There's not enough load on our local transformer and network to bring the voltage down, and SSEPD refuse to adjust the taps to reduce it, no idea why.
I had a similar issue with our transformer at the farm.
My Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generator (56kw continuous 3 phase) was tripping off and recorded voltages of 255v and higher.
If you can show the DNO that they are supplying voltages over 253v, they are in breach of regulation and they HAVE to reduce it on the transformer tap. But they don't like doing it. After producing the data, they changed it in a week, but before that they weren’t interested.
Once it gets over 253v it can't be good for equipment onsite surely.
 

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